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Comment Re:This simply means we're succeeding. (Score 1) 235

Fuck you. I'll buy what I can afford, and your approval is neither sought nor required.-jcr

Unfortunately this is how civilization ends (and a lot of other species along with us). "Fuck you, I can pollute as much as I want and you can't stop me".

I actually agree with the GP: We could do a lot to reduce air travel. How many business trips could be done just as well with telepresence? I work for a company that is really used to doing things face to face. They keep trying to convince remote workers to come visit the home office for fairly trivial reasons. Ignoring the thousands of dollars that costs, and the lost work during travel, think of the carbon footprint of moving me and my luggage vs good teleconference hardware/software?

Right after 911 lots of companies put in teleconference systems with the idea of decreasing travel, but I think we've slipped back into wanting people to visit in person. It'll take a cultural shift (and maybe some better telepresence devices) to be able to avoid all this business meetings where people have to fly in. Or maybe just the TSA continuing to make us all want to avoid air travel!

Vacationing, on the other hand, yeah, that'll continue to be via airliner... Too many destinations are impossible with ground transportation, and nobody wants to use up half their vacation time getting to/from their destination...

Comment Re:Boo ****ing hoo (Score 1) 261

Elon Musk wants to do away with it for the evil purpose of selling cars without the added cost of a middleman.

It's not the cost of the middleman Tesla cares about. It's the fact that they know dealers will steer buyers away from the Tesla and to a ICE car that will make the dealer service revenue.

We had the same problem with Apple when they were trying to sell through the electronics chains. Those stores were steering customers away from the Apple products and towards PC products. I experienced that first hand several times.

The result was Apple ended up having to open their own retail stores, which is exactly what Elon wants to do, for the exact same reason.

Comment Re:Mobileye understands lit. Musk doesn't. (Score 5, Interesting) 218

Expecting Tesla to survive the avalanche of product liability suits that are coming is crazy. Musk appears oblivious to the problem. This is not a PR issue. There are numerous chinks in Tesla's armor that will be pried open and exploited by plaintiff lawyers. The company is toast.

I'm glad you mentioned this. Just this weekend I telling (another pilot) that I don't understand the strategy. The goal of Tesla was to bring electric vehicles to the masses. How are they going to do that when they get sued into oblivion? A conservative approach would have been to offer assist technologies similar to what their competition (other luxury brands) was offering. Instead, Elon has acted like it's Autopilot that's selling Tesla cars. I think people like Autopilot, but would buy the car if it had a much less aggressive auto-drive system because the real value is in the electrification of the car, not the autopilot system.

It's not all that dissimilar to his falcon wing door misstep, except that falcon wing doors did not present an ongoing risk of expensive lawsuits.

So far the accidents have been such that the Tesla driver was the one who got hurt. What happens when a Tesla hits another car and kills everybody inside? How is Tesla going to avoid the liability? Yeah, sure, the driver should have been paying attention, but at least in the US Tesla will still get named in the lawsuit, and when they lose guess who is going to have to pony up the majority of the settlement? Hint: it won't be the driver.

The good news is that Elon may have already jump-started the electric car industry and even if Tesla gets sued out of existence we may have enough momentum for the other car companies to keep moving forward.

Comment Re:Bluetooth pairing (Score 1) 495

I should have added, I have a MBP. I'm still using my 2011 MBP because I was able to install a replacement for the hard drive (1TB SSD) which I can't do with the newer laptops. I would also like to be able to expand the memory (16GB is starting to not be enough). If I wanted a crazy thin laptop I'd get a plain Macbook, but thanks I'll take a little more thickness to be able to have lots of ports and to be able to upgrade disk and memory.

I know they're going in another direction which I really don't understand. I don't consider the current laptops PRO devices. I've been hoping they would see the error of their ways and go back to a thicker laptop with upgradable components and more ports but it doesn't seem to be likely. It sucks, because being an Apple developer I can't just switch to some laptop running Linux.

Comment Re:Bluetooth pairing (Score 1) 495

Most of the Bluetooth headphones that I have used only like to be paired to one device at a time. A lot of Mac Book users also have an iPhone that now does not have a headphone jack. You will get all the adventures of pairing your headphones each time you switch devices.

Exactly. We chat on Slack, Skype, Hangouts, and sometimes even the phone. Right now I just move the headset connector between the laptop and the phone, and there's never a pairing issue. Working remotely, I use the headset many hours a day.

I'm not sure which I hate more, removing the jack from the phone or the laptop. Both suck. Right now my plan is to wait until iPhone 8 when hopefully everybody has complained enough so that they put the jack back into the phone.

Comment Re:A real comparison? (Score 1) 286

the AC has a a point anyway.

I mostly agree with you except about that. I don't think he really did have a point. I should have quoted him, but he said:

average car lifetime has gone down by more than a factor of 2 in the last fifty years

Now, maybe it was a typo and he meant that the lifetime went UP by a factor of 2, but I don't think that's what he meant, given the rest of what he wrote. So, I still totally disagree with his posting...

Every part manufacturer could build a more robust widget for not that significantly more cost. But if that part never needs replacing, that's at least 1 lost sale for that small increase. And because cheaper makers will undercut you, there isn't the incentive for the added cost for longer reliability; except in really niche markets.

I think this was true to some degree in the 50s,60s,70s. But the Japanese manufacturers really got into the quality thing and we saw them build extremely reliable machines. It really was an amazing turn around - Japan had previously been known for junk and they really became (and still are) the gold standard of reliability (or at least Honda and Toyota are).

It's interesting to examine planned obsolescence, because I don't really believe that's what we're seeing in automobiles today. There is a subtle difference between designing parts to a finite lifetime because to design the part for a longer lifetime would cost more, or weigh more, or have some other negative engineering side effect, and designing the part to have a worse lifetime on purpose to help foster replacement. I also tend to think that planned obsolescence is only for markets which have basically gotten the engineering to "good enough". As long as manufacturers can improve the product in a meaningful way, people will continue to upgrade. When your washing machine gets your clothes perfectly clean, in minimum time, using minimum water, etc. etc., what is the incentive to upgrade? That's when planned obsolescence becomes necessary to keep sales going. Wikipedia says:

Planned obsolescence or built-in obsolescence in industrial design and economics is a policy of planning or designing a product with an artificially limited useful life, so it will become obsolete (that is, unfashionable or no longer functional) after a certain period of time.[1] The rationale behind the strategy is to generate long-term sales volume by reducing the time between repeat purchases (referred to as "shortening the replacement cycle").[2]

That's not the same as saying, "let's use more plastic parts over metal to reduce the cost of this machine". That's a more legitimate marketplace strategy. Planned obsolescence says "ok, you have a great part there Mr. Engineer, but we need this engine to throw a rod every 60,000 miles on average so that the owner will replace the car. Make the walls of the part a little thinner so that it will fail more frequently". Of course it's probably not usually so blatant. It's most likely that the manufacturer tries to reduce the price/weight/whatever and... the fact that the reliability went down is okay, wink wink.

If you think about it, that's exactly the opposite of what the Japanese did (and what Miele claims to do, but Miele doesn't really pull it off). They analyzed how their cars and their assembly lines fail, identify the weakness, and address it. That's how we got from 60,000 mile to 300,000 mile cars. The thing is, that as long as they are doing that, nobody else can do planned obsolescence via reliability of their cars, because if a Honda Civic will go 300,000 miles, but your Volkswagen will only go 60,000 miles, you won't sell many Volkswagens.

For the last decade, cars have been on a trajectory of increased computer connectivity and gadgets, increased safety via more and more airbags (and better chassis design for survivability) and more power (in 2005 my 305 hp Subaru was one of the most powerful cars on the road, now there are plenty of cars out there with 300, 400, 500 hp engines). I think that has pretty much played out.

Now we have electrification via hybrids, plug in hybrids, and BEVs. Being a new technology, they will continue to improve rapidly over the next decade and so they won't need planned obsolescence to sell - people will want to upgrade to the car with more range, or better battery electronics, or whatever. So until BEVs mature, we won't need planned obsolescence to keep selling them.

Comment Re:A real comparison? (Score 1) 286

Even the free supercharges for life is questionable for the Model 3.

I actually hope they don't offer free supercharging, nor even a flat rate "$x buys you unlimited supercharger access".

I think that the superchargers will be overwhelmed by the sheer number of Model 3's trying to recharge. I have a Honda Fit EV (BEV) and I almost always charge at home. It's quite rare that I have to charge away from home, and when I do I just use the ChargePoint app to find a free charger. I have money on account with ChargePoint and when I use a non-free charger, they simply deduct the cost of the recharge from the account. In 3 years I don't think I've used $20 worth of electricity yet.. I think Tesla can offer a similar service with the Superchargers.

The problem with making it free, or even flat rate plans where you purchase unlimited access to the superchargers is that then people will be incentivized to use the Supercharger as often as possible (to get "free" electricity). You want to encourage the opposite. Superchargers should be there to alleviate the achilles heel of BEVs: lack of long range. If you set up a system where local people are mobbing the Superchargers for "free" electricity, then the stations will be often tied up when a long distance traveler needs to recharge to complete a trip.

Since I have a garage, and a charger in my garage, I'm probably biased. I know there are a lot of people who live in apartments or otherwise don't have charging available at home. I don't think Superchargers will work for those people; there needs to be a new charging infrastructure to handle that kind of user. Besides, having to sit at the Supercharger station while the car charges negates one of the benefits of BEV cars. When I get home from driving the BEV it takes me 10 seconds to plug it in and it charges while I go do something else. Having to drive to a Supercharger site and wait to recharge would be pretty inconvenient.

Comment Re:A real comparison? (Score 1) 286

Toyotas and Hondas are amazing from a reliability standpoint. And the dealers we have locally (Toyota for my wife and Subaru and Honda for me) are actually pretty nice to deal with. I have no illusions that they're making good money off of us (you just have to look at the swanky dealership to see that) but the service they provide is good.

Tesla is a new company, learning how to build an automotive company from scratch. It's sort of a risky way to do it. It would have been much better if companies like Chevy would have designed the Bolt without external pressure, but that obviously wasn't going to happen. We needed Tesla to make it happen, and I have a lot of respect for Elon Musk for making it happen.

That said, I think it will be a difficult next 5 years for Tesla, and there's a good chance they won't survive. They basically have to execute the Model 3 flawlessly. If they screw up and die, I hope at this point that there is enough momentum for electric vehicles that the industry will still continue to convert.

So far, Tesla seems to have not made many missteps. If they can continue that there's a good chance they'll make it long term. I hope so!

Comment Re:A real comparison? (Score 1) 286

That sounds about right, coming from a Honda Civic. I have a Subaru STi which gets about 20 mpg. I leased a Honda Fit EV mostly for my daughters, but the first year I had it they didn't have their licenses yet so I drove it on my daily commute. The STi was costing me about $4,000 per year for gas just for the commute to work (but that was when gas was more expensive). The Honda Fit EV cost about $400 in electricity for that year, so I saved a lot more than you are estimating, but part of that is because the Subaru doesn't get as good milage as a Civic.

I didn't lease the Fit to save money, though. I did it because I wanted to help transition us from fossil fuel to renewables. If global warming is true (and I think it probably is) we need to get on a path to correct GW. BEV seems like the only obvious short term way to get there.

I don't like big cars, so the Model S doesn't really appeal to me, but I'm anxious to see how the Model 3 turns out and will likely buy one. If not, by then the other manufacturers will be starting to offer sporty electric cars. In any case, my next car will certainly be a BEV or a BEV with a range assist engine like the BMW (but not a vehicle like a Volt or a plug in hybrid).

Comment Re:A real comparison? (Score 2) 286

In what way has the average car lifetime decreased?

When I was a kid (50 years ago) most cars were end of life at 60-100,000 miles. I can not even imaging an average car from those days going 300,000 miles, and yet if you told me you were driving a 2010 Honda Civic with 300,000 miles I wouldn't be at all surprised. Not saying every Civic goes 300,000 miles, but it's not all that unusual. Cars in the 60s and 70s didn't go 200,000 miles let alone 300,000 miles.

I'm sure you can point to a few old cars with lots of miles on them, but where I grew up (New England) cars just didn't last that long. Some of that was rust. The first time I travelled to California in 1980 I was blown away to see all the old cars from the 50s and 60s. None of those cars existed in New England because they had all rusted away by then.

It wasn't just rust though. My dad had been a mechanic as a kid, and he taught me to maintain cars. I've overhauled a couple engines by myself. The component reliability back then just wasn't as good as it is now. Probably a combination of both materials and machining tolerances. If you didn't live in northern states with salt on the roads you could probably keep a car going, but just like today there's a point in the maintenance curve where large numbers of parts simply are worn out, and it gets to be prohibitively expensive to keep fixing the car. Someone else mentioned planned obsolescence, but in my opinion it's not that. It costs money, weight, materials, etc. to design a part with a specific lifetime. Why would you design a component to last 100 years and 1,000,000 miles when you know the rest of the car won't last that long? It's just an engineering tradeoff to determine what the lifetime of the component should be. Back then, nobody worried about making components last much past 100,000 miles. Spark plugs are an easy example, but there are obviously lots more.

It's certainly true that longevity among manufacturers can be very different. I don't think any manufacturers are as good as Honda and Toyota for reliability and longevity, but even some crappy Chevy is going to last a lot longer today than some crappy Chevy did from the 70s...

Comment Re:learn to fly... (Score 1) 260

I can take anyone I want anywhere I want to with only a couple of restrictions. I can even get paid for it if I have a commercial license.

Um, no, you can't get paid for it unless you have a Part 135 certificate which involves a lot more expense and effort (even single pilot 135 still has all the hassles of maintaining the aircraft to 135 standards).

You can share the expenses, but you don't need a commercial certificate for that.

Comment Re:The easiest idea of all (Score 1) 260

"explosives in a firearm cartridge"? wow, some big words to say ammunition.

it's legal to bring ammunition on board, in a locked box. I've done it many times; check the firearms.

anyways they already use "explosives scanners". they look for concentrated nitrogen.

It's not allowed to carry on ammunition - it has to be checked. I'm not sure where you got the info, nor how you carried it on multiple times... (look under "firearms")

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